Sailing Through the Week

Belle River Staff Memo ~ Week of December 14, 2015

Important Dates

Monday: December 14

  • Board of Education Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday: December 15

  • SCHS NHS Readers (Greib and Rymar) 2:45-3:30

Wednesday: December 16

  • Popcorn Day
  • Kindergarten Breakfast: 9:15-10:15

Thursday: December 17

  • Fifth Grade Breakfast: 8:30-10:30
  • First Grade Christmas Pageant: 2:30-3:30

Friday: December 18

  • Third Grade Polar Express Day
  • School Store
  • Staff Christmas Lunch

Upcoming Dates

Wednesday, January 6
  • Popcorn Day
  • Dr. Skalka Visit

Friday, January 8

  • School Store

Monday, January 11

  • Lockdown Drill at 2:15
  • Staff Meeting at 3:45

Tuesday, January 12

  • Rachel to Admin. Team Meeting at 3:00

Wednesday, January 13

  • Popcorn Day

Friday, January 15

  • Super U Challenge (1:30 and 2:30)

Monday, January 18

  • Staff Meeting (Regular and Record-keeping) at 3:45

Friday, January 22

  • School Store

Monday, January 25

  • Board of Education Meeting at 7:00

Total Reader Versus Scholastic Reading Inventory

Catherine Woolman suggested that we conduct a trial of Total Reader before we decide to renew Scholastic Reading Inventory for next year. The secondary schools are using Total Reader and really like the program. A benefit to using Total Reader is that you can choose the genre for the test and students can take the test as often as you would like. Students can access their accounts from home and might be motivated to improve. There is also a student dashboard that profiles each student's progress.


Students choose and read age-appropriate Lexiled passages, each with a series of omitted words, called cloze items. For each omitted word (which is representative of the text's overall Lexile measure), the student sees four possible substitutions; by clicking a word, the student fills in the text and can continue reading. The cloze item is presented within the context and flow of the reading passage; the student need not stop or move back and forth between a separate answer page and the passage. The reading passages and their associated cloze items are referred to as testlets. After a student completes an initial set of testlets (the equivalent of 40 cloze items), Total Reader produces a Lexile measure. All subsequent testlets completed will monitor the student's Lexile measure and report the new measure when change occurs. This way, Total Reader continually generates updated Lexile measures and students are always aware of their reading range. The system records and represents progress in a series of reports.


Our SRI account expires this week, but Chris Klecha is working on renewing it for the remainder of the school year so we can be consistent with our data. However, before the end of the year we should take a serious look at Total Reader so we can compare the two programs.

Total Reader Overview -- Educators

December Birthdays

Happy Birthday to those of you born during the "most wonderful time of the year"!


December 12: Michelle D.

December 24: Diane

December 30: Kelly R.

December 31: Michelle N.

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Merry Christmas

I would like to wish you and your families a very special Christmas and well-deserved break.


Through getting to know all of you during the past four months, I feel very privileged to be part of this team. Our Christmas party last Friday was a demonstration of this group’s cohesiveness. (I can now say with confidence that the Belle River staff works hard and plays hard!) Thank you for your professionalism, dedication, skills, and commitment to Belle River. You and your ideas, contributions, and unique talents make our school a wondrous place for students, families, and all who enter our doors.


Like our staff party, may your Christmas be full of joy, togetherness, and celebration. I hope that 2016 brings renewed energy, hope, and future successes in and out of school.


Warm Wishes,

Rachel